Asking anyone for positives after last Saturday’s two point loss to Laois might seem like a cruel trick but despite his obvious devastation at the final result, joint manager George Dugdale feels that there is a platform on which to build for the future.
“I’m devastated, devastated for everyone concerned,” George told the Observer, “It was a game we could have won, should have won, didn’t win because in the second half I suppose we struggled big time in the middle of the park.
“They won a lot of ball there, we were on the back-foot throughout and we struggled big time in the second half and ultimately, we paid the price.”
If George’s explanation pretty much summed up where it went wrong for Leitrim, the Mohill man also sees positives for the future - “There are a huge amount of positives and it is full credit to the boys.
“From the devastation of Castlebar, we’ve responded well, we got a good victory last weekend, we put in a fine performance here but ultimately you want to win. We are getting to a stage where we want everybody to be winners and losing hurts big time and there is only one thing, to win.
“That is the perspective we are working from, wanting to win but we have to be proud of the performance. There are a lot of positives to be taken from what has happened this year and the performance today so the future is not as bleak as maybe it was.”
Looking back on the game, George felt that Leitrim responded well to the Laois goal but it was the dominance of the O’Moore county men in the middle of the park that really told the tale – “The goal didn’t help but these things happen.
“We responded well, we got a point back and had a cushion of three points at halftime which we would have settled for if you had asked us 35 minutes previously, we’d have settled for a three point cushion.
“There was everything to play for but we struggled big time in the centre of the park. We didn’t have replacement midfielders to come in with Dan Lowe and Paddy McGowan injured so it was go with what we had.
“The boys did their best, they did themselves proud but moral victories are no good, it was a game we should have won and pushed on and be in the next round of the qualifiers but it is not to be. We got to take it and move on.”
As for moving on and his own future as joint manager with Brian Breen, George admitted that he would have to think about the commitment to the job but perhaps there are some clues as to the way he already seems to be planning for next year – “I’m not thinking about that today, I was only thinking about the match today.
“Obviously our term is up for review, although we have a two year term, it is up for review every year and myself and Barney and the County Board have to sit down and see where we are going from here. I myself have to see where I sit myself in terms of time and commitment but that is for another day.
“We need to keep this panel, build on the panel, bring in new players, I don’t think we’d be able to cope with another mass emigration of six or seven players gone, it would be massive and hopefully, the boys will hang around, get some employment.
“It is difficult, you can’t blame them, things are bleak and life goes on. We’ll wait and see what happens, hopefully we’ll have the same guys to work with and additions to it from what we see in the club championship if we are still in charge.”